Jim Cordova is a world-ranked drug-free bodybuilder that demonstrates excellent intuitive wisdom in his workouts. In this video he details his secrets to massive delts and powerful healthy shoulders.
He sticks to the basic exercises when training shoulders and mixes a variety of factors, such as rep range, frequency, volume, and exercise order, just to subject the muscles to new forms of tension.
He starts most shoulder workouts with presses, though occasionally starts out with the side delts first. When performing presses, he sticks to the standard upright angle. High incline presses really hammer the delts as it’s a very natural movement. Generally, he does not lockout when performing presses but rather keeps the weight moving maintaining constant tension on the sweet spot of the muscle. This blasts the muscle and brings it to failure much earlier. He does this for many sets to failure. Keeping the weight moving subjects the muscle to even more stimulation than locking out or squeezing does and will cause you to fail much quicker.
Cordova might train his shoulders only once every two weeks during a power building phase. At other times when focused more on development and a good pump he will not go so heavy and workout shoulders twice a week.
A excellent overlooked exercise is the single armed upright row with a dumbbell. It’s an outstanding exercise for a great pump in the side delts. It’s also easier on the rotator cuff as there is less of a chance of shoulder impingement and is much more natural.
Jim Cordova claims that working the rotator cuffs has helped not only his shoulder training, but the training of every other part of his upper body as well. When using a lot of power and force in the major shoulder exercises, the major muscles tend to really assist in the functions that the rotator cuff would ordinarily perform. This in turn causes the rotator cuffs to weaken and atrophy. This puts you at jeopardy of tearing a rotator cuff muscle even during the most mundane tasks of daily life. To prevent this Cordova does 4 or 5 exercises for the rotator cuff muscles. He claims this has worked very well and that his shoulders feel much stronger then they did prior to rotator cuff training. Those tiny muscles need to be worked thoroughly just as the larger muscles do. Strengthening these tiny muscles will make you stronger in the all the core lifts which will allow you greater progress.